Spectroscopic evidence for bulk-band inversion and three-dimensional massive Dirac fermions in ZrTe5

Zhi Guo Chen, R. Y. Chen, R. D. Zhong, John Schneeloch, C. Zhang, Y. Huang, Fanming Qu, Rui Yu, Q. Li, G. D. Gu, N. L. Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Three-dimensional topological insulators (3D TIs) represent states of quantum matters in which surface states are protected by timereversal symmetry and an inversion occurs between bulk conduction and valence bands. However, the bulk-band inversion, which is intimately tied to the topologically nontrivial nature of 3D Tis, has rarely been investigated by experiments. Besides, 3D massive Dirac fermions with nearly linear band dispersions were seldom observed in TIs. Recently, a van der Waals crystal, ZrTe5, was theoretically predicted to be a TI. Here, we report an infrared transmission study of a high-mobility [∼33,000 cm2/(V · s)] multilayer ZrTe5 flake at magnetic fields (B) up to 35 T. Our observation of a linear relationship between the zero-magnetic-field optical absorption and the photon energy, a bandgap of ∼10 meV and a √B dependence of the Landau level (LL) transition energies at low magnetic fields demonstrates 3D massive Dirac fermions with nearly linear band dispersions in this system. More importantly, the reemergence of the intra-LL transitions at magnetic fields higher than 17 T reveals the energy cross between the two zeroth LLs, which reflects the inversion between the bulk conduction and valence bands. Our results not only provide spectroscopic evidence for the TI state in ZrTe5 but also open up a new avenue for fundamental studies of Dirac fermions in van der Waals materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)816-821
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume114
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Keywords

  • Band inversion
  • Dirac fermions
  • Landau levels
  • Topological insulators
  • Zeeman splitting

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